Dreaming of Kamados and BBQ

Dreaming of Kamados and BBQ

Ever since seeing that episode of Good Eats in which Alton Brown roasts a chicken in a big flower pot, I’ve been thinking about the magic of cooking in ceramic ovens. The even, radiant heat from ceramics and earthenware is the secret to a lot of yummy roasted foods: tandoori and naan, for example. Or authentic NYC pizza cooked in high-temperature brick-lined ovens (so I’m told…I haven’t tried the real thing yet). How could I get this technology into my own house without building an entire oven?

Visit SiteMy sister sent me a link to Imperial Kamado, a company that sells a Japanese-style kamado (lit: stove) here in the States. It’s a double-layered earthenware charcoal-fired that looks about 3-4ft high. Apparently it’s great for making succulent barbecue and even turkeys. It looks fairly compact despite its size and weight, compared to the usual full-on serious BBQ smoking rig. Check out the brochure. This isn’t a high-heat solution, but for slow roasting it sounds great.

Visit SiteThe site is cluttered with interesting background about the development of the Japanese kitchen. There’s also some interesting material on wikipedia about the historical Japanese kitchen, and how it was impacted by international influences. I didn’t know foods like ramen and sukiyaki were a result of this fusion of Japanese and foreign foods. Shows how much I know.

The entire “kamado scene” seems quite passionate about their cookers. You can find several providers of these cookers online, each of them claiming to be the best. Some are quite decorative—even garish—but their owners pose proudly with them as if they had just seen their firstborn graduate from college.

Visit SiteI’m also charmed by this shinchrin, which is a charcoal grill. I have been wanting to get a small hibachi for cooking on the front steps, but mostly I see cheap ones at the supermarket. This one looks cooler, and reminds me of the round grills I’ve seen in Taiwan, with squid and eel roasting over them. That used to gross me out, but after belatedly discovering that unagi is delicious, I’m making up for lost time.


  1. J Wynia 17 years ago

    Both cast iron and ceramics hold onto a lot of heat and release it evenly, which leads to lots of tasty goodness. I cooked on one of these a while back and it was pretty nice for a small grill. It’s heavy cast iron from Lodge (the place Alton toured when he talked about cast iron skillets).

    You can also get some of the same effect if you put quarry tile across the bottom of your oven (depending on oven style). We get as close as we can for things like pizza with the big stone put in the oven, preheat at maximum temperature for like an hour and then dropping the pizza’s onto the hot stone. They bake up soooo nice. You get a crust with just the right blend of chew and crunch. I personally make them using the Good Eats dough, a little olive oil, tomatoes, cheese and herbs and just wait for my eyes to roll back in my head.


  2. Beth 17 years ago

    Did you ever see the one where he smoked fish in a cardboard box?

  3. Dave 17 years ago

    JWynia: Neat! I haven’t seen that before. One quality of earthenware, apparently, is that it doesn’t conduct heat as readily as ceramic, which makes it good for holding charcoal. I wonder if something like that exists. I love cast iron, but I hate carrying it around. I wonder if one could make a kick-ass one out of used space shuttle tiles. That would rock.

    Beth: I never saw that episode…dang! Will have to hunt it down.

  4. William Pugh 17 years ago

    Dave – we have these down here in Texas and we call them egg smokers. They are killer, taste is great all around. A heck of a cooker! Suggestion to all try or get one!

    William P.